rape culture

Not All Opinions Are Tolerable

In every election year, the progressive folk start talking about tolerance. Actually, progressive folk talk about tolerance a lot. It’s kind of our thing.

I’m a Unitarian Universalist, which of course ALSO means that I hear a lot of talk about tolerance. One of our seven principles is that every person has inherent worth and dignity. I believe this on a theoretical level. Some days I even believe it on an actual level. In fact, I always believe it enough to be, for example, anti torture. Congratulations Al-Queda, you have enough inherent worth and dignity that you should NOT be waterboarded!

Here’s the thing, though. Tolerance is great. In all seriousness, obviously you need to treat people well. Don’t be an asshole, is what I’m saying. But I feel like tolerance often gets confused with the idea that all opinions are automatically valid, because TOLERANCE!

But…the thing is not all opinions are valid.

The opinion that women should not have agency over their own bodies and should not be able to make decisions about their own reproductive choices is bullshit, and I will not waste time discussing it.

The opinion that gay folks should not have the same rights as straight folks is bullshit, and I will not waste time discussing it.

The opinion that people of color are somehow less than is bullshit, and I will not waste time discussing it.

The opinion that global warming is not happening is bullshit, and I will not waste time discussing it.

The opinion that torture is acceptable is bullshit, and I will not waste time discussing it.

The opinion that “some women rape good” or it’s the victim’s fault if she was drunk or wearing a miniskirt, is bullshit, and I will not waste time discussing it.

The opinion that religion or football or Boy Scouts gives you the right to cover up the systematic sexual abuse of children  is bullshit, and I will not waste time discussing it.

The opinion that religion is an excuse for subjugation of any kind is bullshit, and I will not waste time discussing it.

The opinion that  hitting children is good parenting is bullshit, and I will not waste time discussing it.

There are lots of things that reasonable people can argue about. The drinking age. Whether marijuana should be legal. How best to improve our schools. Cloth or disposable diapers. Merit pay for teachers. The most ethical way to eat. Whether to use a clicker or just treats to train your dog. How to die well.  Whether goat cheese or Parmesan is better. The best kind of chocolate. What animals can be in zoos. Etc etc. And then there are things that are not debatable. There are opinions that are just not tolerable. If you hold these beliefs, well–hold them, fine. But my rights end where yours begin, and if you want to hold them, don’t you even think about putting them on anyone else. I’m tired of hearing about how good progressives or good UUs or whatever are tolerant. We can be tolerant in the sense that we do not hurt others, but that does not mean that we have to put up with opinions that are not tolerable. There is a right and a wrong, at least some of the time. It isn’t always absolute and there are lots of grays and nobody is ever all bad–as they say, even Hitler was a vegetarian–but there are still right and wrong. And the far right? They are just wrong. So yeah, that means I’m not going to respect you if you vote for Romney/Ryan. Because it is not ethical. And I can be tolerant and still assert your inherent worth and dignity if you vote for that ticket–but that doesn’t mean you are right, or that your opinions are tolerable.

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Postcards From Milford

I think this is where Bluster Bluth went to school.

I was GOING to stop in Secaucus, NJ, back when I was having some geography troubles and thought it was after the GW bridge. It is not. So I just kept driving. And, I am pleased to say, I drove QUITE CALMLY over the upper level of the bridge. (When I was a kid, I was totally scared of bridges). I did, however, role down the windows, just in case Zoe and I needed to make an escape. I also left our seatbelts on, though, on the theory that we are more likely to get into an accident than to go flying off the George Washington Bridge.

I love driving 95 North. I know! And not ALL of it, and I hate the truckers with the passion of a thousand fiery suns, but it’s kind of reassuring to hit the same landmarks every day. Zoe, I said, here’s the Bronx! Here’s the New Jersey Turnpike! Here’s the Vince Lombardi reststop!

I am a dork, is what I’m saying.

Zoe was a total trooper. For the first bit of the drive, she kept accidently shifting and putting the car in neutral. This was…unnerving at first.

But then we figured it out, and she settled down on her stretched back passenger seat, covered with a sheepskin, wearing her seatbelt. So stinkin’ cute. For realz.

So we went over the bridge and then got stuck in traffic. I had a full tank o’ gas when I left and I kept waiting to find cheap gas to refill…then, in Connecticut, I discovered that I had maybe an 8th of a tank. Do you KNOW how much gas cost? DO YOU KNOW?

Four dollars and thirty three cents a gallon, that’s how much.

I told the guy (it was full service station) that this was a bit pricey, and then we had a little bitch session. He was all, everyone LEFT THE CITY AND NOW WE ARE A SUBURB AND WE USED TO BE A NICE QUIET TOWN. hee.

(I did not fill the tank).

Then I got a little more lost but finally wound up at a hotel. I was very excited to see that it had On Demand, because I LOVE me some On Demand in hotels. But then the TV made this loud buzzing noise that would.not.stop just when I started Cedar Rapids, so I had to call the front desk and ask for a refund. Then I was FURTHER foiled by the lack of good wifi here, and also the lack of Season 1 Veronica Mars streaming on either Netflix OR the WB website, and that made me sad. So now I’m watching Parenthood.

But I had a nice dinner and Zoe is being adorable and tomorrow I will hit my cousin Sarah’s house, and I am excited to see her. And Saturday Then…Sunday I need to find a place to stay, any suggestions near New Bedford, MA? And then Nonquitt. Whoa. Lots and lots of stuff.

Freaky moment of the day: I logged onto facebook and WHO POPS UP BUT MY SHRINK. At a book reading. I happen to be FB fans of the bookstore, and I was all…wait a minute. That’s my shrink. On my facebook page. Because THAT’S not weird or anything.

Also annoying: My Stupid Ankle. Which hurts to drive, and will not let me jump off the diving board, or go for walks on the beach, or basically ANYTHING FUN EVER.

Ho hum.

Oh! Links!

The A.V. Club is reviewing The X-Files, Arrested Development, AND Veronica Mars (“Hi everyone! Say repressed homosexuality!”). This makes me very, very happy. Reasonable discussions FTW!

What Happened That Night in Abbottabad? (New Yorker)

Melissa Summers has an incredibly brave post about her suicide attempt.

“This war on information is a battle. This war on information is injustice. This war on information is a strategically arranged set of operations designed to victimize and control a specific group of people. This war on information is war.”

Obama Turns Fifty Despite Republican Opposition. (GOP Vows to Say No, No, No).

Stephen Colbert Says that Obama is…well just watch. Also watch his Summer’s Eve bit.

Minimalist Posters for Children’s Books! (WANT. ALL OF THEM).


Friday Read Around the Web

SHERMAN ALEXIE I LOVE YOU: “And now I write books for teenagers because I vividly remember what it felt like to be a teen facing everyday and epic dangers. I don’t write to protect them. It’s far too late for that. I write to give them weapons–in the form of words and ideas-that will help them fight their monsters. I write in blood because I remember what it felt like to bleed.”

Things that Cause Rape

Best Takedown of a Victim Blaming Article EVER

Personhood USA is maybe the worst organization I have ever heard of.

 


Things That Make Me Feel Marginally Better About The World

1. This. I am trying to spin it into a positive. At least someone wrote a GOOD rape prevention list? There you go.

2. The Red Sox are making an It Gets Better video. If I followed sports, which I don’t, the Sox would probably be my favorite team. Also, I hate the Yankees. Anyway, it’s always good to have sports teams making these vids, because at the very least it ought to give some bullies second thoughts.

3. Now you can review the Abortionplex on yelp! YES. and who says feminists can’t be funny?

4. Veronica Mars. See my post yesterday. I feel awful still–really horrible cold–and I cannot focus on anything serious because I feel like I can barely breathe. But I’ve seen VM and on rewatch it just gets better and better. I’m basically starting the first season over: somehow I don’t want to watch the 3rd season and I’ve only watched some of the 2nd. The Lilly Kane mystery really was the best.

5. Oh, and the existence of dry shampoo. I love that stuff.

6. Some of my favorite neighbors are moving tonight, and I will miss them horribly. However,  I did get to spend time with their delightful 3 year old yesterday. We were both, as she says, “a little bit sick” (well, I was/am a lot sick) but we enjoyed making cookies, snuggling and reading books anyway.

 


Read Around The Web

the dangers of hotel housekeeping (in which the NYT op-ed page is actually halfway decent about sex crimes!)

let’s play Spot the Institutional Racism! (the comments on this post are mostly good…until you get to “Ashley” and “Katie” who are all, well we are colorblind and you all suck since you SEE RACISM OMG. ::headdesk::

Oh look, Daily Kos actually addresses White Privilege in a way that doesnt scream “STOP WHINING you overly sensitive people!”

OMG its an eight year old shark conservationist! I LOVE THIS KID.

The Feds Finally Borrow Hillary’s Balls to refuse defunding Planned Parenthood

Apparently there’s gonna be a Sarah Palin movie, and not the Tina Fey kind, either. Too bad, because the Tina Fey kind is the only kind worth watching.

This may be the worst thing I’ve read about the prez candidate, and in a world that includes Palin, that’s saying something.

ETA because the girl scouts are apparently abortion pushers!

OH AND LOOK A PSA I ACTUALLY LIKE and it aired during Glee which means people actually saw it, hooray!


Favorite Feminism Sundays

Do You Trust Women? (Bitch PhD, and possibly my favorite post on abortion ever).

Rape Culture 101 (Shakesville; I sometimes find Shakesville a bit…much somehow but I love this post, and in fact I tend to love everything Melissa McEwan writes about rape and rape culture).

I Know I Can Fight Rape Culture By… (Feministe: some of the comments are especially interesting, although as always some are just fuckwits).

Abortion Manual (from the now defunct blog Molly Saves the Day: I remember reading this post when it was first published in 2006, just after the South Dakota abortion ban. And yes, I think having coherent information about how to safely perform abortions is important–although I hope we never, ever have to use it).


Things of Note

The New York Review of Books had a fascinating–and disturbing–piece on prison rape recently. I’m not sure if you can read the whole thing without subscribing, but just in case, it’s here. The authors are really on the ball. They’ve got stats, they’ve got stories, and most importantly they’ve got solutions. Those solutions are, of course, largely ignored. Nonetheless, the piece is absoloutly worth a read. Prison rape remains a huge component of rape culture, and prison rape jokes often ruin a perfect good cop show (note: of these things is more important than the other).

Speaking of prison, one man on death rows wants to be able to donate his organs. Here is is op-ed at the Gray Lady: I found myself nodding along. Then I went over to Feministe and read comments there, and now I find myself completely unsure. Yes, the death penalty is an absurd law and so yes, theoretically, I totally support the idea of death row inmates getting to donate their organs. However, it turns out to be so simple. Aside from a couple really awful trolls, the comments over there are thoughtful and make a remarkable number of well informed points.

The man who wrote the NYT op ed was the subject of a fascinating, and very very disturbing, Esquire portrait. It’s great reading, just not very comfortable reading.

Surely there’s a way to tie all of this together, but I’m too tired right now. Well, rape culture made all of this possible, so there you go.

 

Meanwhile my heart goes out to the people in Japan. You can get info on helping from the ICRC.